‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes': Why Director Matt Reeves Is Both Thrilled And Terrified For The Next Sequel

It's all about the why and the how.

With Reporting by Josh Horowitz

They say the night is darkest just before the dawn, but for director Matt Reeves, the future’s looking pretty bright precisely because of the “Dawn.”

Reeves, best known as the director of “Cloverfield” and “Let Me In,” has his stinking paws all over “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the newest film in the “Apes” franchise set to hit theaters this summer. He takes over the directorial reins from outgoing filmmaker Rupert Wyatt, who helmed “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” With Wyatt gone, Reeves is the new man behind the camera, diving headfirst into an ape-dominated landscape that takes place ten years after mankind became an endangered species thanks to the lethal plague teased at the end of “Rise.”

While Reeves remains hip deep in the tricky waters of “Dawn,” he’s already looking beyond the horizon at the next “Apes” film. He’s attached to direct the third film in the rebooted “Planet of the Apes” franchise, and he already has ideas of where the series will go next.

“Part of wanting to do another one came from the richness of this world and the characters,” Reeves told MTV’s Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “People have said to me, ’How are you interested in this when you already know the ending? You know it becomes the Planet of the Apes.’ But that’s the most interesting part.”

For Reeves, “Apes” emphasizes a lesson he was once taught back in film school. “[There are] two different kinds of stories: The stories in which the big question was about what happens, and you watch the movie and as it unfolds, you discover what happens,” he said, “and there are other stories in which you know the ending — like ’Casablanca,’ with flashbacks — and those stories aren’t about what happened, but the why and the how. And the why and the how are always about character.”

“Somehow, the character that Andy [Serkis], the writers and Weta created, he leads to a path where the apes aren’t just the dominant species, but they also have humans as slaves — all of these things that are very different from where we are in ’Rise’ and ’Dawn,'” he continued. “How do we get there? What does it tell us about our nature, that this becomes that? That’s what got me excited about continuing down that vein.”

Of course, Reeves wouldn’t mind taking a brief vacation after “Dawn.” But he’ll be lucky if he can even squeeze in a nap; at the moment, the third “Apes” film is due in theaters in 2016.

“I hope we’ll be able to squeeze in a little bit more time before that comes out,” he laughed, “but we’ll see how that goes.”

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” hits theaters on July 17.

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri.
@roundhoward